The world of international business can be a strange one. With every country having its own set of laws and customs, culture clash is inevitable. The following examples, however, go a bit beyond cultures clashing and into outright bans, taboos, and country-wide legal restrictions. For a variety of sociocultural reasons that might seem strange to outsiders, these 7 products have all earned bans in their respective countries.

While this list might seem lighthearted, it is important to note that these are actual laws that can get in the way of doing legitimate business in these countries. If you work for a company doing business in one of these countries, you should learn about importer of record requirements or contact an international sales expert to make sure laws like this don’t get in the way of your company doing business.

Gum In Singapore

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Chewing gum is banned in the city state of Singapore. This law was passed as a way of promoting cleanliness and politeness. Companies like Hubba Bubba, Dentyne, and Excel Gum are all restricted from importing their products into Singapore. Someone must’ve gotten sick of finding gum under the dinner table!

Toothpaste In Algeria

Toothpaste and most other dental products are banned in Algeria. The country (like a number of others) lists fluoride, a primary ingredient in most toothpastes, as a poisonous substance, and the product is therefore banned across the country. Some experts expect these laws to change in the foreseeable future, however. As to how they clean their teeth right now, well, you’ll have to ask someone from Algeria.

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Pairs Of Shoes In South Africa, Mexico, And India

Yup – it is illegal to import pairs of shoes into these three countries. While that might furrow your brow, it's an effort by all three countries to promote local business. Companies like Nike, Adidas, and New Balance are so prominent in the western shoe market that these countries took this rather extreme measure in order to compete.

Kinder Eggs In The USA

The popular children’s candy – a hollow milk chocolate egg containing a small toy – was the subject of a federal ban by the U.S. government, after it was deemed a choking hazard. Anyone attempting to smuggle Kinder eggs over the U.S.-Canadian border might face a fine of $2,500 –per egg. American kids might want to stick to Wonder Balls.

Ketchup In France

Ketchup is not banned across the country in France, but it is banned in school cafeterias, a major market for producers of the condiment. Strangely, ketchup does not seem to have been banned for health reasons, as mayonnaise is still allowed, but for cultural reasons: it’s too darned American. Maybe this move was a backlash against the whole “Freedom Fries” debacle.

Goldfish In Switzerland


You can own goldfish in Switzerland – you just can’t own a goldfish. Owning just one goldfish has been deemed by the Swiss government to be cruel and unusual isolation. So there’s nothing wrong with bringing home Little Billy the carassiusauratus – just make sure to get him a friend!